Here’s the most useful thing I know!

30th April 2024

Today’s Tip contains the most useful thing I know…

(I’ve been writing these tips for nearly 14 years. That’s over 650 of them! So you’re probably thinking “Andy, why have you waited this long, to tell us your best technique?”

I’m not sure either. Anyway, here it is…)

And what is this magical Tip?

Think in 3s

In other words, when you have a challenge and want to find your best option, identify at least three of them. And then choose the best one.

This works well because people usually think in 2s.

For example, when someone is too confrontational with you in a meeting, you might identify two options – either apologise, or fight fire with fire.

But there are many problems with having only two options:

  • If you don’t like either, you’ll think there’s nothing you can do
  • Clearly, there will be more than just two solutions. So you might be missing the best one(s)
  • You could easily choose to do the first thing you thought of, rather than the best thing

Whereas with three options:

  • You have three options not two – 50% more choice
  • Weirdly, once you find a third option, it’s often easy to find #4, #5, #6 – so, you now have lots of choice

For example, when somebody is confrontational with you, here are at least three options:

  1. Apologise
  2. Fight fire with fire
  3. Suggest we have a quick break
  4. Ask the question “why are you saying it like that?”
  5. Ask their advice. For example you could say “I’m not happy with the situation either. How do you advise we overcome it?”
  6. Tell them that you’ll take notes, and write down word-for-word what they say. That way, you can share their concerns with others, and come back to them with a solution (this often works well. If they have a real concern, they’ll like you taking it so seriously. And if it isn’t a real concern, the thought of word-for-word notes often makes their “concern” magically disappear!)
  7. Mention your emotion “I feel nervous when you talk to me like that”
  8. Say you desperately need the toilet, ask them to “hold that thought” and explain you’ll be back in two minutes (by when they’ll have hopefully calmed down)
  9. Say that you misheard them, and ask them to repeat what they’ve just said (often, once they’ve blurted out something, that removes much of their tension. And when they repeat it, they do so more calmly)

Etc etc

So we now have nine choices. And you’ll be able to think of lots more too.

This is great. Earlier, we thought we only had two options – and we didn’t like either. So we thought there was nothing we could do.

Well, now we have 9+ options. We like some of them. So we now feel more empowered.

Great for finding solutions.

Great for confidence.

Action Point

Today, you’ll face a tricky challenge.

So, find at least three options. I bet at least one of them will help…

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